Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
School Choice Questions
What is school choice?
School choice is the term for public education options in the United States. Traditionally, students are assigned to their public school by the location of their family residence. Choice allows families to pick the public school that best fits their child’s need.
Is Oakland a school choice district?
Yes, Oakland families can choose to attend either a traditional public school or a charter public school. Of the 130 public schools in Oakland 86 are district-run schools and 44 are charter public schools. Enroll Oakland Charters (EOC) provides the common application for most of the city’s charter public schools.
Why are there two separate applications to enroll in Oakland public schools?
EnrollOak.org was created last year as part of an effort to unify enrollment across the city. Some believe that a single application for both charter and district public schools would simplify enrollment for all parents, especially those without the time, money, or privilege to navigate multiple public school options with different application deadlines and processes. While interest in unified enrollment for Oakland’s charter and district public school remains, charter school leaders did agree last year to unify enrollment and a single common application was created. Let us know if you think there should be one system; we’ll pass the message along.
When you say Oakland public schools you mean district and charter schools, right?
Yes, the difference is that some are run by the district and others are operated by charters granted either by the district or the Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE)
How do I find out what schools are in my neighborhood?
If you are already in the Enroll Oakland Charters online application system, you will see a list of charter schools closest to your home after entering your address. Alternately, you may use the Oakland School Finder tool to view a similar map that shows all public schools (both charter – blue graduation cap – and district – green graduation cap) in the city and includes a great deal of additional information about each school, including programs, transportation, demographics, and performance. To access School Finder click here, or copy and paste www.oaklandfinder.schoolmint.net/school-chooser into the address bar of your browser.
There are so many public schools in Oakland, how do I choose the one that best fits my child and family.
Families experienced with school choice consider many factors when choosing a school that best fits their child(ren). Is it close to home? Is it safe? Is it diverse? Is it high-performing? When looking for your dream school experts say it is also important to keep in mind the “goodness of fit” where a child’s personality is closely matched to the characteristics of the school. Is your child easy? If so, consider a school where most of the work is completed on an individual level. A child who is emotionally sensitive and has trouble bonding with others might benefit from a school with a focus on arts and expression. Active children might do well in a school that focuses on physical activity and team learning. Cautious-minded children may thrive by staying with the same teacher and group of students for the first several years. Remember, the choice is all your’s . We recommend that you use Oakland School Finder to explore and compare schools, and check out these helpful tips and tool from GreatSchools.org. You will also want to take a tour of the schools that interest you and talk with principals, teachers and parents. We also encourage families to attend one of our School Enrollment and Resources Fairs in December.
What is new in School Finder this year?
New in 2017 will be performance indicators based on the state’s new accountability system. The California School Dashboard evaluates school performance based on multiple new measures including suspension and graduation rates as well as the usual math and English indicators. The data will be part of the school profiles in School Finder tool and will allow families to compare district and charter school for the first time ever
General Application Questions
How do I apply to Oakland charter public schools?
Go to EnrollOak.org and click on the blue EOC Application button. The deadline to apply to participating Oakland charter schools is February 16, 2018. To increase the chances of getting into a school of your choice, apply to multiple schools. The more the better.
How do I apply to OUSD schools?
The OUSD application will be available starting November 13, 2017 through January 26, 2018. Go to EnrollOak.org and click on the green Apply to district schools button.
What are the application deadlines for charter and OUSD schools?
The charter application deadline is 11:59:00 pm February 16, 2018. The OUSD application deadline is January 26, 2018. Check Important Dates for more information.
What happens if I miss the enrollment deadline for charter public schools?
Participating charter public schools will start accepting online applications again toward end of February 2018. However, these applications will be handled on a first come first come basis with most being placed on schools’ waiting lists in the order received and most likely be placed on waiting lists, behind those who submitted applications by the February 16th deadline and didn’t get offered a spot in the lottery.
Will my charter public school application be given priority if I turn it in on or before the deadline?
No, all applications submitted between November 1, 2017 and February 16, 2018 are treated the same. For each school, if the number of students who wish to attend the school exceeds the school’s capacity, attendance will be determined by a public random drawing.
Do charter public schools give preferences to certain applicants?
Preferences vary by school so it is best to check with the schools that interest you to learn more.
Is there a paper application for enrolling in Oakland charter public schools? If so, where can I get it?
Yes, the paper application for Oakland charter public schools can be picked up at participating schools. However, we encourage you to fill out an online application instead. It is fast, easy, there’s less chance mistakes and you can access it from your smartphone. Also, school staff and the EOC Team are available to assist you. Click here of a complete list of schools or call us at 510-454-9360, Monday-Friday 9a-5p.
What if I need help with the charter schools paper application?
Staff at participating schools will provide in-person assistance with the paper applications, and also will help you apply online instead.
Does it matter when I submit my charter and/or OUSD application?
Yes! The deadline to enroll for the 2018-19 school year is midnight January 26, 2018 for OUSD schools, and February 16, 2018, for charter public schools. All charter school applications received by the February deadline will been entered into a random selection or lottery process in accordance with each school’s enrollment priorities. There is no advantage to submitting your application early, so we encourage you to take time to schedule school tours and open houses and to attend one of EnrollOak.org’s Enrollment and Community Fairs in East or West Oakland this December. Click here for more information or to RSVP.
What resources are available to help me enroll my child in a charter public school?
- For phone support, call the EOC Team at 510-454-9360
- For in-person support visit any participating charter school.
- To research schools, use The Oakland School Finder an online, interactive tool to help families find and explore schools in their neighborhood and beyond.
- Tour the school(s) that interest you, and talk with the principal and teachers to get a feel for whether its a fit.
- Attend schools’ open houses
- Attend enrollment fairs. EOC is hosting two fairs in December. Click here for details.
I am completing the EOC application. What kind of communication can I expect?
You will be contacted by email and/or text message at various times throughout the EOC application process, including when you submit your final application and when/if the schools you choose offer you enrollment or place you on their wait lists. So keep your contact information in School Mint up to date.
EOC Online Application Questions
How do I access your online application?
Go to Enrolloak.org and click on the blue “EOC Application” button at the top of the page. This will take you to SchoolMint, our online application platform also used by OUSD. If this is your first visit to SchoolMint, you will need to create an account using your email address and/or mobile phone number. Once you have logged on, follow the steps to create a Family Profile and, if you are ready, start applying to schools. You can use your same login information to access your application at any time to add or subtract schools or make other changes before the February 16, 2018. Alternately you can Sign Up here. You also can use your same login to apply to OUSD schools.
Is the application available in multiple languages?
Both the district’s and EOC’s online applications are available in six languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, Spanish, Khmer & Vietnamese. EOC paper applications will be available in English and Spanish. However we strongly encourage families to apply online. It’s fast. Its easy and there is less chance for errors. And you can apply using your smartphone, laptop, notebook or desktop computer.
I don’t have a computer. Can I use a paper application instead?
Although paper applications will be available at participating charter public schools until February 16, 2018, we encourage you to apply online. You can use a smartphone. Its fast, easy and there’s less chance of mistakes. You can also apply online at participating schools and receive support from school staff. Or you can call the EOC Team at 510-454-9360 and we will guide you through the process.
I don’t have an email address, and only use a landline – can I still apply?
Use a relative’s or friend’s contact information (mobile phone number and/or email address) . Or, sign up for a free email address. Click here for a list of the top ten providers.
Can someone walk me through how to complete an application online?
Yes, you may visit or call any participating Oakland charter public school, or call the Enroll Oakland Charters team at 510-454-9360 for support. Some schools will have parent stations set up to guide families through the online application process.
Applying to Multiple Charter Schools
How many charter schools can I apply to?
As many as you like. In fact, the more schools you apply to the better the chance of your child getting into one of your choice schools.
Does ranking my school choices increase the chance of my child getting in to my top ranked school?
No. Unless you are applying to multiple schools that are managed by a single charter network, your school rankings will have no bearing on admittance to your preferred school(s). The ranking is mostly for information purposes. However, if you are applying to more than one school operated by a Charter Management Organization, the ranking information may be used to help place your student in his or her most-preferred campus.
I submitted an application for only one charter school. Can I go back and add more schools?
Yes, you can add more schools at any time before the February 16, 2018 deadline. In fact we highly recommend that you apply to multiple schools because it increases your chances of getting into a school of your choice. The more schools you choose the better.
I completed an OUSD application online. Do I need to complete a charter school application as well?
Only if you want your child to attend a charter public school. The OUSD application is only for public schools run by the district. The charter application is only for participating Oakland charter schools. The choice is yours. Be mindful, however, that, applying to multiple schools – charter and district – improves the chances of getting into a school of your choice.
EOC Application Submission & Next Steps
How will I know if my application is submitted?
You will receive confirmation of your application submission via email and/or text message (depending on the communication preference you indicated in your application). You can also login to your SchoolMint profile at any time to see which schools you’ve applied to. Once you’ve submitted an application, there is no need to resubmit.
Why didn’t I receive confirmation of my application submission?
If you don’t get a submission confirmation by email or text, go back to your online profile. If your application status is “Pending.” click on the “Submit” button on the last page. This will complete you application.
If I turn my paper application in at a school or at the EOC office, how will I know if it has been submitted?
You will receive notification of the application submission via email and/or text message at least two weeks after you turned it in.
How will I know if I have any offers?
The schools will contact you directly with offers between March 5-9, 2018. Following this notification period, if your receive multiple offers you will be have to accept one by March 29, 2018.
What if I have multiple offers, can I accept more than one?
Each charter school will run their own lottery, which means it is possible to receive multiple offers. To free up seats for other interested families, all families who receive an offer(s) are required to confirm by March 29, 2018. If you’ve received multiple offers, you can only accept one. Upon accepting an offer, all other offers will be taken away. If you do not accept any offers by the confirmation deadline, all offers will be taken away.
I have accepted my seat. What's next?
Registration. The school will give you specific instructions about what is needed to register you child. Be prepared to present certain documents for verification purposes like proof of address, copy of birth certificate, etc.
What documentation will I be asked to provide for registration?
Check with the school. Typically you need to provide proof of address and you child’s birth certificate.
I have two children that I’d like to complete applications for. Do I complete separate applications for each?
Yes, you must complete one application per child, but will be able to do so under your one online account. In your account profile, you may add as many children as needed to accurately represent your family and will then be able to select any child and submit an application on his/her behalf. It is important to set-up your family profile this way because some charter schools provide preference for siblings who are applying together.
I submitted an application for Child 1, how do I complete an application for Child 2?
Log in at SchoolMint and click on Family Profile. Then click on the Add Student button on the far right section of the page under Student. This will start your new application for another child.
Technical Support and Updating Applications
I am concerned about entering personal information online. Who else will have access to my data?
SchoolMint is a totally secure website used by families across the country to apply to schools. OUSD uses the very same platform for its online applications for traditional or district-run public schools. You won’t be asked to provide your Social Security number; only your name, relationship to student, address, phone number, email, student’s birth date, etc. This information will only be shared with schools that you apply to as well as Enroll Oakland Charters staff. Schools may use this information to contact you if they find mistakes, like incorrect birth dates or addresses, or if they find multiple profiles for the same students, and that is only to ensure all application information is entered correctly for the school lottery.
How do I reset my password?
If you’ve already created an account, select “Forgot Username?” or “Forgot Password?” if you are unsure of your login credentials.
I entered the wrong birthdate for my child. How do I fix it?
Simply log in to your account profile, select the child whose information is incorrect, and make the necessary fixes. You will be able to update to your OUSD application if needed on or before the January 26, 2018 deadline, and your EOC application on or before February 16, 2018.
Do I need to create a new family profile if my contact information changes?
No, however its very important to keep your account updated with your most current contact information. To do so, log on to your existing SchoolMint account using your original credentials, then add your new information to your Family Profile.
More Questions About Oakland Charter Public Schools
Please visit Oakland Families for Quality Schools to learn more about Oakland charter public schools, oaklandfamilies.org.